HEAT VISION

Hideo Kojima Explains Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Death Stranding' Character

"I make movies...and then I come here and it's like, 'Take your clothes off. We're going to paint your face with dots,'" the 'Drive' filmmaker said of the process of getting his likeness in the game.

Legendary video game director Hideo Kojima brought the strangeness to this year's San Diego Comic-Con.

During a panel conversation with film director Nicolas Winding Refn and The Game Awards' Geoff Keighley on Saturday evening, Kojima showed off new footage from his upcoming Death Stranding game.

In introducing Refn to the stage, Kojima showed off a short clip of his character, Heartman, from the game. Heartman seems to live in a strange 21-minute loop and appears with an EKG strapped to his chest, which zaps him as the time expires. Heartman shows Norman Reedus' character around his lavish apartment, explaining his collection of films and music that can be consumed in under 20 minutes.

Refn, whose likeness is used in Kojima's game (as is fellow film director Guillermo del Toro's) said, "One of the things that bonded us is that we are very similar. We both like silence," Refn said of Kojima. "A very beautiful relationship began between us and we have traveled the world together — like a couple," he added, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Kojima explained that he asked Refn about putting him in contact with Mads Mikkelsen, who also stars in Death Stranding. "Nicolas suggested Keanu Reeves," Kojima joked through his translator.

As to how Refn ended up in the role in the new game, Kojima explained that he had based Heartman off of the filmmaker. "Heartman's heart stops every 21 minutes. What happens is that he dies and he looks for his family on the other side for three minutes," said Kojima.

"I make movies and when I work with actors, it's flamboyant and colorful and warm, and then I come here and it's like, 'Take your clothes off. We're going to paint your face with dots,'" Refn said of the process of getting his likeness in the game.

Describing his latest, Kojima compared Death Stranding to Hollywood films. "I want to create new things and give new stimulation to the world," he said. "I want to bring something different that is difficult to chew and digest."

"I think Kojima and I both take great pleasure in destroying good taste," Refn added.

When asked about the blurring of lines between Hollywood filmmaking and the games industry, Kojima said, "120 years ago films were created and at first you had to go to a theater to watch them. Then came the TV. Then came streaming. Gaming will be streaming, too. I think games and movies, in the near future, will come closer. We're going into an era of new possibilities."

Also revealed during the panel was the official box art for the game, which will launch exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on Nov. 8. 

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